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JAY-Z: Blueprint 3

 

Hov is back!  Fresh off the debacle of Kingdom Come, all eyes are on Jay-Z.  Does he still have IT is what heads want to know.  What’s clear is that he seems confident donning his latest work with the same title as what many consider a classic. 

 

For anyone looking for the Reasonable Doubt Hov or perhaps the original Blueprint Hov, he’s on some new sh*t and he makes it clear on “On to the Next One”:  “Hov on that new sh*t / N*ggas like how come/ N*ggas want my old sh*t/ Buy my old album.”  And really the quicker we get that concept the better.  It’s kind of like when Mary made the transition from the sad, intoxicated My Life to happy The Breakthrough.  We weren’t ready and some of us still aren’t.   However ready or not this album has already provided Jay with the distinction of having the most number 1 albums of a male solo artist, surpassing Elvis Presley. 

 

The gems come via “What We Talkin’ About,” what I like to refer to as Hov’s “F-you” to the masses: 

 

“Grown men want me to sit em on my lap

But I don't have a beard and Santa Claus ain't black

I repeat, You can't sit on my lap

I don't have a beard Now get off my sack

Scream at me”

 

After receiving jab after jab from the rap community on everything from his break from Dame Dash to his shoe choice, it was actually refreshing to see him push back.

 

In the same grimey vein comes “D.O.A. (Death of Auto-Tune).”  Although it’s not my favorite Jay-Z track, I for one am calling for the death of auto-tune.  Geez, I mean one song is cool, but we’re now in abuse territory.  People can’t make a dollar without it.  That’s not music.  That’s a gimmick  - a gimmick that unfortunately has taken a direct hit in the pockets of super producer T-Pain.  All’s fair in love and war. 

 

“You n*ggas singin too much,

Get back to rap you T-Pain’n too much

Ah, I’m a multi-millionaire

So how is it I’m still the hardest n*gga here?

I don’t be in the project hallway

Talkin’ bout how I be in the project all day

That sounds stupid to me”

 

“Run This Town” featuring Kanye West and Rihanna seems to be doing well via radio rotation although its not one of my favorite.  Finally, “Empire State of Mind” brings that grand, Sinatra meets thug flavor care of Alicia Keys while her boo Swizz Beatz helps Hov out on “On to the Next One.”

 

While Hov likes to refer to himself as god emcee, this album is not without misstep. The second half simply doesn’t fair well.   It reminds me of the Blueprint 2 – all over the place and scattered.  It lacked the cohesiveness that say The Black Album brought via soul.  

 

“Young Forever” just missed the mark.  Perhaps not necessarily the mark for good music, but it missed the mark of his audience.  Kanye, although uber creative, always runs the risk of just missing good taste.  Unfortunately, Hov fell victim to this fact with “Hate.”  Meanwhile “Venus vs. Mars” falls flat. 

 

Am I the only one who wanted at least one hit strictly for the clubs – no deep thought or points to make.  Simply something for pure ear gratification. 

 

When Hov spits with a vengeance you feel it.  Yet after several tracks, the topics appear repetitive.  I appreciate that a multi-millionaire staring 40s in the face has closed the chapter on gang-banging and drug-pushing.  I mean really there’s something foolish about a man who sells-out Madison Square Garden but has the audacity to claim to be still in the hood.  I get that about Hov, however what else is there to him these days?  Surely, he has something to offer.  What about marital life, life as an entrepreneur, the pressures of fame and fortune. 

 

Don’t get me wrong…..I’ll always be checking for Hov, but I just expected more.



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